MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – The consistent thread throughout Saturday’s Miami Dolphins scrimmage, and really since the start of training camp, was pre-snap penalties.READ MORE: Man Sought In NW Miami-Dade Machete Attack
The unofficial count was seven, which for a scrimmage that barely lasted an hour is way too much.
It got to the point where it was hard to focus on anything else, whether you were in the press box or on the sideline.
“The only thing I noticed was the pre-snap penalties,” said head coach Adam Gase immediately following the scrimmage. “We’ve just got to get that cleaned up.”
Last season the Dolphins were one of the most penalized teams in the NFL.
Some have suggested that the unfamiliarity between quarterback Ryan Tannehill and center Daniel Kilgore, who signed as a free agent during the offseason, could be partly to blame.
Gase was quick to shoot down that idea.
“No, because it hasn’t been those two guys,” Gase said. “It’s usually a lot of times we’re getting a little anxious on the edges. That’s really where we’ve had any kind of issues.”
Tannehill didn’t point the finger at any of his teammates, but he did say that every player must be accountable for themselves in order to fix the problem.
“It’s discipline,” he said. “Every man has to take it upon himself to listen, listen to the snap count in the huddle, have the discipline at the line of scrimmage to sit in there when you’ve got a speed rusher coming around the edge, and to be able to not anticipate the snap too much and stay onside. It’s an individual thing where every man has to take it upon himself to stay onside and do the little things right.”
Gase also pointed out that the majority of the penalties have been called on the backup units, saying “the ones really haven’t been an issue for us.”
Tannehill and his offensive line are still in the process of getting on the same page, something that Gase is showing some patience with.
Tannehill hasn’t played since 2016 and Miami’s current offensive line features only two starters who were on the roster that year, tackles Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James.
“We’re just going to have to fix it,” Gase said. “We just have to focus and understand the cadence is for us on offense to help us, not to hurt us. We’ve just got to hang in there and we’ve just got to do a better job being consistent with it.”
The scrimmage began with Jakeem Grant returning the opening kickoff for 45 yards.
The speedy Grant has worked as Miami’s main return man during camp and looks to enter the season in that role.
Miami’s first team offense worked against the second team defense during its limited time on the field.
After an opening 3-and-out, quarterback Ryan Tannehill led his only scoring drive of the day, which was capped by a Jason Sanders 47-yard field goal.
The drive could have done better but Danny Amendola dropped a would-be touchdown on a throw that took him across the middle inside the 5-yard line.
“I don’t think our performance on offense was up to our standard of what we want it to be,” Tannehill said. “But as far as coming out here for the first time in a long time and to be back on the grass and back to doing what we do, it felt good.”
The big test for Tannehill came on a naked bootleg in which he ran for about 14 yards on first down.
His surgically repaired left knee will be closely watched as the season nears, but all indications are that the seventh-year quarterback is healthy and ready to roll.
“I feel like I did before everything happened, so I feel good,” Tannehill said.READ MORE: Pembroke Pines Police Officers Take Oath To 'Serve And Protect' To Next Level With Moving Gesture
It’s been 18 months since Tannehill last took a snap in an NFL game, but his focus and work ethic have kept the 30-year-old fresh and prepared.
“He rehabbed extremely hard. He’s probably stronger than he’s ever been,” Gase said of Tannehill. “When you spend that much time in the training room and the weight room, it’s going to happen. I know he’s excited to get going and get in a real game and just kind of get the season rolling.”
One positive mentioned by Gase was how second-team defensive ends Andre Branch and Charles Harris did against the offensive starters.
“I think it was good to see in that second group, the ends made it tough on the outside guys,” Gase said. “I think they always do. We got them with the twos, but really they are ones.”
Defensive end could be the deepest position talent-wise on the Dolphins roster.
Harris had sacks on consecutive plays, one of which would very likely have been a sack-fumble after he torched rookie tight end Mike Gasecki at the line and came up on Tannehill’s blind side.
The 2017 first round pick is having a strong camp.
Harris spent most of his rookie year trying to acclimate to the NFL level, acting as a sponge trying to soak up as much knowledge as he could.
Now, he says the game is getting fun again.
“I feel like last year I just tried to work,” Harris said. “I tried to work, tried to check off things. Every single day I came in, I did a check list. That’s all it was. But now I really love the game. I’ve got that love back. I feel like that’s the biggest thing. I want to be out here. Versus last year, I’m like, ‘Let’s get this thing over with.’ Now, it’s like I love it now. I got my love back for the game.”
David Fales and Brock Osweiler briefly rotated series’ working with the backups before eventually the latter worked only with the threes.
The two have been battling for Miami’s backup quarterback spot, a competition that has been very close through the first 9 on-field workouts.
Osweiler threw the day’s only touchdown late in the scrimmage, hitting Drew Morgan for a 1-yard score.
As for Fales, his day was mostly uneventful. The only thing that stands out is that he overthrew a wide-open Albert Wilson crossing the middle of the field.
Unofficial stats had Osweiler finishing 7-of-7 for 50 yards while Fales completed 3-of-4 for just 16 yards.
Not to be forgotten, Bryce Petty hit Rashawn Scott for 48 yards just as the scrimmage ended. Both are longshots to make the final roster.
Scott led all receivers with 2 receptions for 65 yards.
Starting cornerbacks were Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley. Akeem Spence and Davon Godchaux started at defensive tackle.
Stephone Anthony worked as the third starting linebacker, joining virtual first-team locks Kiko Alonso and Raekwon McMillan.
Alonso continued his excellent camp Saturday, moving fluidly from sideline to sideline while stuffing rookie running back Kalen Ballage on more than one occasion.
Andre Branch had a sack against the starting o-line.MORE NEWS: 2 Diners Injured In Partial Deck Collapse At Fort Lauderdale Waterfront Eatery
Linebacker Quentin Poling suffered an apparent leg injury. He was attended to by trainers but walked off the field under his own strength.